Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Suspension Upgrades

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    • #17399

      Hi Mike
      You said you will be making some suspension upgrades this winter with Hellwig products.
      I’m getting a 2018 Ram 3500 longbed 4×4 diesel in a couple of weeks. I’ll be putting on my 2014 Northern Lite 9’6, which fully loaded with lots of gear and extra water is 4,000lbs.

      I drive it throughout the west on some some pretty rough 4×4 roads.

      I’m thinking of bigwig airbags and a bigwig sway bar. Any suggestions, what are you entertaining for your rig?


      2018 Ram 3500 Cummins diesel long bed 4x4
      2012 Northern Lite 9'6"

    • #17414
      Mello Mike

      We will be installing a set of Big Wig Air Bags among other things. Still haven’t finalized everything but the Big Wigs will definitely be part of our plans. We already have a Big Wig sway bar.

    • #17416

      Thanks Mike

      Look forward to hearing how your suspension upgrades work out


      2018 Ram 3500 Cummins diesel long bed 4x4
      2012 Northern Lite 9'6"

    • #19677

      I have timbrens on my f250 looking at installing lower stabeloads. Looking for feed back from truck camper owners who use both on how well they work together.

    • #22663
      Mello Mike

      So far the Big Wig air bags are working great. We keep them aired up to 25 psi. I’m using a wireless Air Lift 16092 air compressor to control them. So far, so good. The Timbrens had a lot of “recoil” to them when ever we hit a bump, not so with the Hellwig Big Wigs. I’m liking this setup so far.

    • #22768

      I started off with Firestone airbags on my 2008 F350 right after I bought it and was disappointed. Not in the airbags themselves, but in the way the truck handled with airbags alone. Adding too much pressure to the airbags just kept the springs from reaching the overload leafs (leaves?). On any side-to-side movement of the truck and camper, it would repetitively bounce and roll like a sick pig. I added the Torklift bumper extensions to allow the springs to seat on the overload leaves (leafs?) and reduced the pressure on the bags to 30 lbs. That made all the difference in the ride quality and feeling. Now the truck rides level, it put a little more weight on the front springs and still have enough touch to the rear springs that it doesn’t feel like an overloaded Continental floating down the highway.

    • #23218
      James Young

      Firestone now do a ‘Ride Rite Red Label’ airbag. Basically, their existing excellent Ride Rite beefed up with better materials that are 50% stronger but the same size. According to Firestone the Red Label are no different in ride quality at all, just using better materials.

      The existing Ride Rite are rated up to 100psi. The Red Label boost that to 150psi. A difference you may not actually use but the 50% durability increase is across the board both in the rubber used and the rest of the structure/bracket (according to the techs as Firestone I spoke to, anyway)

      With airbags being a somewhat weak link due to the rubber durability I went with the Red Label for an extra $100.

      As someone mentioned, you may get a ‘boaty’ feel with too much reliance on the airbags. We had the leafs rebuilt by Deaver in Santa Ana to match the camper. I think that was $400 and a great investment but would not ride that well if we took the camper off (which we do not).

      The BigWig sway bar works great. Just be aware of any lift you have. once you hit 2″-2.5″ like me you’ll be in between the standard and extended link end lengths (as we are) I have tried cutting the extended ends down but have not installed yet. Your truck may work out differently.

      2007 Dodge 3500
      [5.9 Cummins, Stick Shift] + [XPCamper V1E]

    • #23454

      I have a 2012 FORD F350 Supercab 4×4 that I installed Big Wig Anti Sway Bars both front and rear, the Stock FORD rear sway bar was a joke. Having had Firestone air bags under my last two FORD trucks it was tough for me to switch to the Timbren Suspension System…..but I feel it was a marvelous choice and a welcome change from always futzing with air pressure in the bags. The Timbrens handle the load of my Eagle Cap 950 beautifully, however, I did add Lower StableLoads as I really like the way they make the FORD Overload Springs go into play rather than just sit there not really carrying their weight. I feel like I will likely never go back to Air Bags again. The Timbren System is so very trouble free!!!
      Just my two bits worth…Truck Camper-aholic for over 25 years.

      Stanley Idaho

    • #23794

      I have made the following upgrades:
      1. Big wig rear sway bar –
      2. Rancho RS 9000 shocks : I
      set them
      on 9 and they still are
      not as
      Stiff as I would like but
      3. I installed spacers to
      engage the
      Overload springs sooner.
      worked well.
      4. I originally installed air
      My camper is pretty heavy
      therefore I had to run
      about 80 lbs in them to
      level it out. The ride
      was way to bouncy. Air
      bags are ok if you don’t
      Need to put too much air
      In them. Too much air
      unloads your springs too
      Much and you get the
      Bounce and sway. I
      switched to Timbrens and
      its a much more stable

      2007 Dodge 3500 Dually 4x4
      Cummins 5.9, 6sp, PAC
      brake, Big Wig, Timbrens
      2000 Lance 1130
      2004 Jeep Rubicon

    • #24033

      My 2012 Ram 3500 4×4 has a Tiger CX RV coach frame mounted. It weighs about 3,800 lbs. with 11,000 total. The builder(Provan) installed air bags on the rear. The suspension was very bad form new. Front porpoised up and down, rear had no travel and wallowed back and forth. I removed the air bags, installed a Hellwig Bigwig and added a leaf to the rear along with Rancho 9000xl shocks.I installed Bilstein 51000 reservoir shocks in front. Very good improvement,for a while.
      Rancho’s 9000xl shocks started out better than OEM’s with 10,000 miles but are shot with only 12,000 miles.No leaks, just weak as mush. Bounce up and down 3x after bump.
      Bilstiein’s have 22,000 and have deteriorated to the point of factory OEM’s and porpoising.
      The small piston truck shocks just work to hard on our truckcamper rigs. I’m looking into larger 2.5 series shocks like King, Fox and RoadKing.The larger bodied shocks can handle stabilizing the weights easier. They cost a lot more but it’s easy to see they are much more and rebuildable.

      2012 Tiger CX Ram diesel 4x4

    • #24046
      John Perz

      As an alternative, maybe dual shocks?

      I don't like to make plans. They cause the word "PREMEDITATED" to get used in court!
      My Body is a Temple! Ancient, Crumbling, Probably Cursed . . .

    • #24169

      As an alternative, maybe dual shocks?

      I thought about that but found no after market brackets for double shocks on the rear. I remember the days of 4 shock per wheel trucks,LOL. That lead me to believe doubling up on throw away shocks is not the answer. A custom valved 2.5 King shock with a larger piston and more control is available. I’m working with Ben @ Filthy Motorsports and will see what he comes up with. I’ll post if I’m successful with just adding a bigger shock.

      2012 Tiger CX Ram diesel 4x4

    • #26024

      I’m with Perz. Rear double shocks are in my future. Aftermarket shock mounts can easily be added.Take a look at the rear end of my rig going up the Diablo Drop Off just before the moguls. this is with Rancho 9K’s with 4K miles on them.
      I built my own suspension with 8 leaves on the rear with Stable Loads:
      3-leaves in the upper secondary pack aka overload pack
      4-stock leaves in the main pack with the actual overload spring and a 2000 pound helper spring over that giving a 3 inch lift to rear axle.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #26052

      Looking forward to what you guys come up with re shocks. I still have OEMs, they haven’t blown up yet. What does the Spyntec hub conversion do for you, a little more safety margin? I have 2016 Ram 3500 DRW.

    • #26108

      Update from post #24033. I got a set of King 2.5 shocks for my camper from Filthy Motorsports. Once process started it was about a month before they arrived. Installation was a little tricky because they are nearly impossible to compress by hand. I did not however depressurize for installation as recommended by King instructions. I didn’t want the hassel of getting/finding a shop to recharged.
      I have yet to make a road trip but have done a couple test rides. I am pleasantly surprised to find no major change in comfort. It wasn’t uncomfortable before, just seemed a little of control. Before, OEM size shocks faded badly on long bumpy back roads’ and allowed the body to wallow around to much. Now body stays more neutral. I drove over a set of six speed bumps designed wide with flat tops. Before the front compressed to the stops but not now. Before the rear bounced several times when the axle dropped off the rise, now it settles quickly to neutral. The littles bumps seem less noticeable not as sharp. The top sway a little more subdued but still there. I do have a BigWig rear sway bar and that really made an improvement.
      After my next road trip, I’ll post again. So far very pleased with how much better the feel than the Bilstein remotes on front and Rancho 9000 on rear.

      2012 Tiger CX Ram diesel 4x4

    • #26489

      Two thumbs up on the King 2.5 shocks. I have 1200+ miles on them now and they do not fade. Bumps are more muted and overall the ride’s just more enjoyable. I hope they last 40/50 thousand miles at least. The free wheel hubs allow easier steering, a little better MPG and I just like the fewer moving parts.

      2012 Tiger CX Ram diesel 4x4

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